Waltrip High School has spent the past few years trying to regain traction in District 11-5A, having missed the UIL football playoffs in three straight seasons and dropping each of its first two district contests in 2021.
The Rams (0-3) will look to get back on track to the postseason this week, but it figures to be difficult as they take on a perennial Class 5A power in the Fort Bend Marshall Buffalos (4-0).
If the Rams are to have any chance of pulling off the significant upset Friday night, it will likely rest on the shoulders of running back Kahlen Sam. The senior leads Waltrip’s attack with 222 rushing yards this season and is coming off back-to-back 100-yard performances against Houston Austin and Fort Bend Willowridge the last two weeks.
Defensively, the Rams are going to have their hands and everything else full as they try to contain Marshall’s high-powered attack, which is averaging better than 59 points per game. They’ll look to be the first to contain quarterback Ja’Koby Banks, who has accounted 1,022 total yards (688 passing, 334 rushing) and 18 touchdowns.
St. Pius X (2-1) vs. Concordia Lutheran (0-4) – St. Pius X CB Ethan McMinn: The Panthers’ defense has been both opportunistic and stingy, allowing less than 15 points per contest while forcing eight turnovers through three games – and McMinn, the sophomore corner, is one of their leaders.
McMinn has hauled in all four of SPX’s interceptions this season, picking off at least one pass in all three games. Look for him and the Panthers’ defense to frustrate a Crusader offense that has turned the ball over 14 times in four games.
The Panthers will, however, need to keep an eye on junior running back Ayden Dominy, who leads the Crusaders with 218 rushing yards.
St. Thomas (3-1) vs. Katy St. John XXII (1-3) – St. Thomas RB Johann Cardenas: Cardenas has silenced any potential questions of a sophomore slump through the season’s first month. Following a freshman season in which he had 760 total yards (459 rushing, 201 receiving) and 11 touchdowns in 2020, Cardenas has proven to be just as lethal in 2021.
He has 532 total yards (312 rushing, 220 receiving) and five touchdowns in four games, including two 100-yard rushing games and two contests with at least 75 receiving yards, and will likely be heavily involved Friday against a St. John XXIII defense allowing more than 38 points per game.
This Week’s Schedule
Heights at Westbury, 7 p.m., Butler Stadium
Scarborough vs. Booker T. Washington, 7 p.m., Dyer Stadium
Waltrip vs. Fort Bend Marshall, 7 p.m., Delmar Stadium
St. Thomas vs. Katy St. John XXIII, 7 p.m.
Lutheran High North at Bryan Brazos Christian, 7 p.m.
St. Pius X at Concordia Lutheran, 7 p.m.